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Letters to Home

Michael McBride

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Freshly shaven, washed, and groomed, David stood at the gate of the Lillia Palace. He had on a regulation gray Federation Air Force t-shirt and blue jeans, with a light leather jacket over the shirt and a motorcycle helmet under his arm. He had ridden over before the Black Knights shipped out, in the hopes of seeing Hannah one last time before he was recalled home. After much pushing, he had managed to secure a guarantee from Dobbs that he would be returning to Australia sometime within the next few months, but the exact date was unknown. Much of it was contingent on how things went in Italy. He pressed the button to the call panel outside the gate, and waited for one of the guards to pick up.

"State your business," came the official sounding reply.

"Colonel David Atkinson of the Feder..." David stopped himself, swallowing hard. "The Italian Federation Air Force. I'm here to see Her Royal Highness before flying out." After a pause, the gate opened and David walked briskly up to the main doors. Stepping slowly inside, he looked around the main palace foyer.

"Hello? Your Highness?"

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A slight knock on the door pushed Hannah's eyes opened as she rolled over on the couch looking at the doorway leading into her personal chambers as it was pushed slight ajar. She only kept one eye on the door as a chamberlain's head pushed into the light and looked around, until he saw her unmoving on her sofa. "Highness?" He pushed slightly further, grimacing to see that she had been asleep. "Highness, I apologize for bothering you right now. But there is someone in the Grand Hall who has requested your immediate audience."

Hannah sighed and rolled back over on the couch, putting the pillow over her face. "Not now. I just woke up, tell whomever it is that the last thing I want to discuss right now is politics. Hell I'm not even dressed, I've been lounging around all day." Indeed she had, wearing blue and black pajama pants and a white tank-top she was barely formalized for any meeting. "If it is extremely urgent, I need at least an hour to prepare for an audience."

"Highness, I doubt that Master Atkinson would object to you appearing in what you are wearing now."

The Queen turned over and and looked at the chamberlain with wide eyes. "You didn't say that David was here? He's in the Grand Hall?"

"Yes Highness. He did seem a bit urgent as well. Though definitely not to appear in front of a Queen. If I may Highness, he looks like a slob right now."

"Eh, so do I. That makes two of us." She said leaping off the couch and throwing on a pair of slippers to cover her bare feet. Quickly, Hannah ran past the chamberlain and across the length of Lillia Palace at near full speed. If it was urgent, she didn't want to waste any time, any time at all and by the point she had reached the Grand Hall, Hannah looked down the marble staircase at the pilot staring up at her. "David." Running just as quick down the stairs, she threw her hands around him and pulled him close. "I heard what happened in Pravus Inguro, its horrible, you're a refugee like me now, or like I was." She looked up at him. "I know what its like to have your home snatched away from you, but I'm telling you, it'll be alright, okay. We'll make it through this just fine." Burying her head back into his chest she held back her anxiety. "What did you come to talk to me about?"

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The hug and everything made this whole thing tougher for him. Along with what she was wearing. Seeing her look so... normal, without the jewels, the dresses, the gowns, everything just made him realize that leaving was going to be that much tougher. Keeping one hand wrapped tightly around her back, David reached up and brushed a strand of hair away from her eyes.

"Dobbs called the Black Knights home." The words came terse, strained, almost as if David was attempting to hold back tears, which he was. "We have orders to fly out today. I don't know when I'll be back... Tom guaranteed that the Black Knights could come back in a few months, but it depends on how everything goes at home." David sighed, looking up at the ceiling before looking down again at the mess of white hair buried into his chest. "I came to say goodbye, Hannah. I needed to see you one more time."

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She let go a deep sigh that she had kept within her body and let it out into the dry and humid Australian air seeping into the palace. "You know." Hannah said looking up at him. "I knew this was going to happen eventually, it happens with all military people. I should know that, the life of constant changing, constant relocation, never able to stay in one place forever. But..." It was nearing around nine months since David had arrived and in those nine months Hannah had pushed the inevitable fate of all soldiers out of her head. Surely, this would be different, why would you ever want to separate people that really cared for each other? And for what the defense of a nation across the sea? But that was his homeland and she knew that if the positions were switched she would have to do the same thing. She just didn't want it to happen.

"So maybe in a few months then. That won't be too bad. It...won't...just..." Hannah was supposed to be hard, she was supposed to be as rough as an unshaven diamond. Mean, unforgiving, a ruler that commanded respect and loyalty from. Yet here she was, reduced to looking nothing more than a young girl who had crawled out of bed to see her friend off to the wars. Slowly, tears began to form in her emerald eyes as she hugged him a bit tighter, shaking a little bit from the sadness and anxiety as she shook her head. "But I don't want you to say goodbye, not like this, I just wanted you...I didn't want you to let me go."

Slowly, the girl began to nod. "No, its what needs to be done. Just...just promise me you will be back and I'll promise I'll still be here when you return." She looked up, her green eyes sparkling from the tears, radiating from the lights of the chandeliers hanging above and the Lillian Guards standing on the walls, only bowed their heads and smiled at the scene in front of them. Seeing the Queen so soft, so human, it was a thing of utter beauty.

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"I promise that I'll come back, Hannah. I mean, come on, I'm invincible. Nothing's going to stop me from coming back here." He winked at her, his pilot bravado trying to hold up as best it could. Still, his mask faltered and a single tear streaked its way down his cheek. "I'll miss you, Hannah." Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out an envelope with a slight bulge at the base. David handed the envelope to her, smiling softly. "I want you to wait to open this until I am out of the country." He turned away for a moment and then leaned down and kissed the Queen hard on the lips. "Don't worry, I will be back. I love you." The last three words were barely audible, whispered, and then David turned and quickly walked out of the Grand Hall. He tossed his helmet on, got on his motorcycle, and drove off towards the airport. He never looked back, because if he had, he might have stayed.


OOC: Letter for later reading.

Dearest Hannah,

If I did not adequately express my feelings for you before I left, I am sorry. I am not a fan of dealing with heavy emotions, and the whole "I am a rock, I am an island, I am unbreakable" thing that you do so well, I do well too. When that breaks, I tend to want to leave as soon as possible. So if I did so before you, me, or any combination of the two, could adequately tell the other how they felt, I apologize. If I did, however, manage to get the words out, allow me to reiterate them here.

I love you. I love you more than I have ever loved anything ever before, even flying. What began as a mission to get some R&R, stroke my own ego, and have some fun has turned into something completely different. How we ever stumbled into this, I'm not sure, but I do know that what we have is special, a bond that cannot be broken. I will return in a few months, to finish what I started, not only with your pilots, but with you as well. You have my solemn word and vow on that.

Enclosed you will find the wings I received when I graduated from flight school in Redemptio. They have always been a good luck charm for me and I want you to have them now. Their luck will be better used with you and running a country then they ever will be with me, sitting in a plane running patrols over Italy. Please keep them as a physical reminder of my love for you.

With love,


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Valeria Sangral enjoyed her patrol around Lillia Palace, as Commander of the Lillian Guard itself, a simple task of patrol was always welcomed over the long hot nights training new recruits in the various forts over the country. Or worse, that she would be sitting behind a desk in Alice Springs going over reports that Hammond or MacDohl had sent to her as orders that needed to be approved. Tonight, she relaxed as she walked across the moonlight marble floors of the palace, down and up white corridors, whistling a happy tune as she did so. Everything seemed just in place, but as she rounded one of the great stone corners, leading out to the verandas overlooking Darwin, the soft sound of crying startled her as she placed on hand on her rapier and peaked her head around the corner.

It was like something in a movie, perhaps even better than a movie. There against the silhouette of the full moon, stood the Queen of Australia, standing so majestic and beautiful that even Valeria turned her head for a moment, from the light of the moon and the figure in front of her. Hannah stood there, her hair falling elegantly down her back, a pearl nightgown run down past her feet and her pale skin had a bright glimmer to it as it reflected the moon, while her white hair literally seemed to glow from the rays coming down from the sky. The Queen leaned over the balcony, her head in her hands as she wept softly, her tears falling hundreds of feet to the gardens below. In her hands, was a letter, wet with the stain of her tears and in her left hands, a pair of military insignia. Valeria signed and slowly stepped out into the light, she knew exactly what it was about.


The Queen darted back, standing straight up, took a deep breath and wiped her eyes. Her stern voice, the only think she allowed to escape her lips. "What is it Commander Sangral?"

Valeria smiled and shook her head. "The warrior queen that never cried, the woman that never loved, the woman that doesn't even consider herself human anymore for what she has sacrificed. Oh Hannah, Hannah, Hannah." The Commander smiled and touched her shoulder. "Listen, girl, you and I have been friends for how long? Five years?"

"Six." Hannah chuckled, her tears beginning to flow again.

"Six years, you know when I'm sad and I know when you've been crying. I also know why you've been crying and I'm going to tell you right now. Of all the reasons to cry. That is by far the best one."

Hannah turned and grabbed onto Valeria's shoulders hugging her just as tight as she had hugged David. "I just...I don't know Valeria, I never felt this way before. It was like all of a sudden, he said he was leaving and I just...I felt empty inside. All the nights we just sat there talking, my head resting on his shoulders. I didn't feel like a Queen, or a general, I just felt like a normal girl."

"Men have that ability, don't they." Valeria walked over to the balcony and looked up at the moon. "Trust me, I'm waiting for my own." She sighed and turned back to the Queen. "Listen Hannah, he is a great guy. A lot of girls would do anything to be with him and whether you're royalty or not, something clicked. I'm telling you now, you two have a future together. I promise that."

"You think?"

"I don't think. I know."

"Thanks Valeria. I appreciate it. I really do."

"We have something great here Hannah, something that the world is going to remember. Its best to share it with someone who loves you as much as he does."

The two women hugged tightly again before Hannah crept slowly back through the palace to her quarters where she sat down on the couch where she had first fallen asleep in his arms and drafted her own response.


I understand what you mean and sometimes I should hit you, personally I blame you for tearing down the wall and defenses that I spent years constructing for myself. But maybe, just maybe, its better that those walls were torn down. When you did tear them down, you opened a world to me that I don't believe I could ever have seen with my eyes so full of hatred and cynicism. You made me a new person, you made me into the kind hearted woman that my parents never taught me to be. I guess the military man took the military out of the girl and for that, given the circumstances was the best thing possible.

There are days that I wish we could go back to those times, just to know that I would have been with you then and honestly I could give a damn about the pilots, about this crown I wear on my head, or this entire country. Just to know that you support me is enough and that alone will keep me going for a long time. Long enough to see you return that is all I ask and I wait anxiously.

For the life of me, I looked for something to give you that would let you remember me. But I couldn't find something as dear as your wings. So as I wrote this letter, I cut out a tuft of my hair and wrapped in a gold brace, its not much. Though, I hope that it means just as much to you as the wings to me and I will wait, though not patiently to hear back from you. I pray and will always pray that everything in Italy goes just how it is supposed and that the only surprise is your return to Darwin.



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With the method of communication being snail mail, even when sent from the highest levels, it could take time to reach its intended destination. However, when David received her letter, he responded quickly.


I hope this letter reaches you in good time, and in good health. The recent tensions over our former homeland has made everyone tense over in Italy, and Presidente Dobbs would not allow me to accompany him back to the Americas on his trip to the summit there. Even though it wasn't in our old land, I ache to see the sweeping, majestic skyline of Redemptio just once more.

Here in Italy, I am performing many of the same tasks I was in Australia: training new pilots. These Italians are eager for knowledge and are quick learners, but they lack experience. I am not sure how they will react in combat, or how they will do when under extreme pressure. The work is hard, but I do not mind it. I know that every day I spend training these new pilots brings me one day closer to seeing your beautiful face again, and that is what sustains me and keeps me going.

I received your gift in your letter. I had one of the techs fashion a necklace and small locket out of plane steel for me. I put the lock of hair in the locket and the brace on the necklace itself. I keep them with me constantly, a gentle reminder of you and what I have to look forward to.

I have spoken to Dobbs about getting the Black Knights transferred to the new base in Guam. He said we would talk about it soon. I will press hard and do my best to get my pilots back to finish the job they started, and me back to you.

With all my love,


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"Majesty?" The knock on her office door was sharp as Hannah lifted her head from the papers scattered on her desk. Slowly, the door that was ajar pushed open a bit further as one of the chamberlains walked into the room, with a letter in his hand and bowed before laying it on the table. "I didn't want to disturb you Highness, but I believe you will find this letter of the highest urgency. At least to you personally." He said with a smile. "I can assure you that it is nothing of a political nature."

Hannah looked up at him with wide eyes. "David?"

The chamberlain bowed again. "I will let you respond in peace Madam."

He left in a hurry as Hannah opened the envelope and poured over the words on the paper. They were everything that she wanted to hear and more and smiled as she finished and patted it lightly against the smooth mahogany of the desk. She reached into one of the drawers and pulled out a piece of stationary and and pen to draft her own, back through the mail to his hands.


I can empathize with your feelings David, there have been many nights that I wish only to stare out at the skyline in Helsinki and look at a setting sun over the Baltic Sea. It has been too long since I've seen Europe and while I have no desire to return to that forsaken place, there is still a mystic pull that it has for all Finns. I have been paying attention to American news and what is happening to the Southeast is a shame for what has been done before by Pravus Inguro and while I have no love for Groenlandia, I have even less for Tahoe and the Federal Republic of America. My sincerest hopes are that they kill each other, but away from the innocent civilians of Florida, the south east and even their respected countries. Having leaders duel and dispose of each other is in my opinion, much more effective.

Italy sounds like a lovely place and I'm glad to hear that things are going well for you. Hopefully our Hanseatics still out preform the Italians, but one can never be too sure. I just hope that the better trained they are the faster you return to Australia to where you should be anyways, as you said with Guam, when I heard that the Italians had positioned themselves on Guam I was hoping to hear of your transfer. But I will have to wait a bit longer. Not that it is a problem, but the longer I wait, the harder it is, but there I guess lies the greater reward.

I hope my gift brings you luck and know that I am always thinking about you and I know you are of me. The world and politics may have separated us, but I know it will not last and I look forward to that day you appear at the gates of Lillia Palace again.

With love,


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